To keep people safe from dog bite-related incidents, the best and most effective laws focus not on breed, but on behavior — both the pet owner’s behavior and the dog’s behavior.
In 2013, the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association published a peer-reviewed study examining 256 dog bite-related fatalities in the U.S. from 2000 to 2009. The researchers found that dog bite incidents often involved factors under the control of the dog owner, including failure of the owner to neuter or spay a dog, isolation of a dog from positive family interaction, and mismanagement (abuse or neglect) of a dog by an owner.
Dog breed bans and breed-specific legislation
Dog breed bans and other forms of breed-specific legislation (BSL) force many responsible people to give up their beloved pets, but they do not make communities safer. In America, responsible people should be allowed to love and care for any breed of dog they choose.
The following are examples of good alternatives to dog breed bans and breed-specific legislation. These laws focus on reckless owners instead of dog breeds:
- Illinois: Illinois Animal Control Act
- Highland Park, Illinois: Dangerous/Vicious Dogs and Problem Pet Owner Ordinance
- Skokie, Illinois: Dangerous/Vicious Animals and Problem Pet Owner Ordinances
- South Bend, Indiana: Responsible Dog Owner Ordinance
Read more from Best Friends Animal Society on dog breed-neutral laws.